How to Use Your Camera to Detect Eye Cancer in Children

When asked how to diagnose eye cancer, the first things that come to mind are usually lots of lab work, trips to doctor’s offices, and sitting nervously in waiting rooms. Few of us ever imagine that we might hold the key to early detection of children’s eye cancer right in our hands! Check out the innovative campaign the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust has put out showing parents perhaps the simplest test ever for finding cancer:

As it turns out, the white “glow” revealed by flash photography is actually symptomatic of any one of 15 different eye diseases. Some of these diseases, like Coat’s disease, can lead not only to blindness, but to the removal of the eye. In the case of retinoblastoma, the disease—if not caught in time—can be fatal. The good news is that this white glow is easy to detect. In fact, over 80 percent of the cases of Coat’s disease and retinoblastoma were initially discovered through a parent taking a photograph. (Via PetaPixel)

Revealing Eye Cancer With A Flash

How to Check for Eye Cancer

Here are some tips for using flash photography to check to see if your child might have retinoblastoma, Coat’s disease, or other eye diseases revealed by “the glow”:

  • Make sure you have your red-eye reduction turned off when taking the photos.
  • Take photos of your child from in a number of different positions, angles, and lighting configurations.
  • Look carefully through the photos; some images might show only a slight glow.
  • If you’re unsure if you can detect it or not, ask your pediatrician to perform a red reflex screening—a very simple test that can confirm whether your child has an eye disease or not.

When you go through your photos, if you find any type of glow, make sure to go to immediately to your ophthalmologist or pediatrician. Early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference not just between sight and blindness, but also between keeping the eye and losing it.

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